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Making Headlines For More Than 160 Years

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UDC Creates Jobs, Healthy Food to Southeast DC with Urban Aquaponics Project

Urban fish farming initiative seeks to transform community through Food Production and Economic Empowerment

Click here to download press release.

Click here to download more background information about Aquaponics and invitation to Sept 28th ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Sept. 10, 2013, Washington, DC - In an effort to continue providing urban initiatives for growth and innovation for DC residents, the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) will again join with ReGeneration House of Praise Church to launch the second phase their collaboration: a neighborhood-sized aquaponics facility in Southeast Washington, DC. The project, funded through a grant from Wells Fargo Corporation, will enable the church to raise fish and grow fresh food with cutting-edge technology. The facility will also host hands-on education and job training events for local residents.

Led by Pastor Cheryl Mitchell Gaines, ReGeneration House of Praise, also known as “The Church in the Field,” is on a mission to cultivate a “Garden of Eden,” enhancing the church's ability to grow food and jobs. Project Everyone Deserves to Eat Naturally (EDEN)™ was created to serve as an urban garden and job creation site that features food demonstrations, food handlers training and certification, nutrition counseling, and sustainable, modern growing methods of urban agriculture. Earlier this year, the CAUSES team built a Hoop House (a moveable green house) for project EDEN.

“We have already been supplying fresh food to this community with what we have been growing in our garden and hoop house. By going high tech, we will be far more effective in teaching people how to fish and how to provide healthy food for themselves, in an effort to improve their lives and promote self-empowerment,” explained Pastor Gaines. 

Also referred to as the “Fish and Loaves” initiative, the cutting edge aquaponics facility offers a highly efficient way to grow food by using fish waste to fertilize plants in a re-circulating system. What makes such a small, aquaponics system in an urban neighborhood even possible is the invention of Tom Kakovitch, Environmental Science Professor at UDC. 

Kakovitch was instrumental in creating the facility, which may well be the smallest aquaponics operation of its kind. His patented aeration device, known as the Flo-Vex™, injects oxygen from the atmosphere into the water without high pressure, heat or moving parts. The device is so small and efficient, it can miniaturize aquaponics systems and make it feasible to produce in urban neighborhoods without generating waste.

“This is the age of urban agriculture and urban sustainability. Securing a steady, dependable supply of fresh food and water in underserved urban neighborhood challenges us to look at technology in completely new ways,” Dr. Kakovitch stated. “It is the application that matters; not the technology itself.”

The new facility will also serve as a training facility for business development and entrepreneurship as well as urban agriculture, and food processing. The training is offered through UDC’s land-grant program division that serves well over 35,000 district residents though its community education programs. The division is a part of CAUSES and collaborates closely with the college’s academic programs to spur hands on innovation and research that makes a difference in the lives of people and communities in the District.

A launch ceremony for the new aquaponics system will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11:00 a.m., at 3754 MLK Jr. Ave. SE. For more information about the event and about CAUSES and its urban sustainability initiatives, visit To learn about ReGeneration and Project EDEN please visit

About the University of the District of Columbia

An HBCU, urban land-grant, and the only public university in the nation's capital, The University of the District of Columbia is committed to a broad mission of education, research and community service.  Established by abolitionist Myrtilla Miner in 1851, the University of DC offers Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's Degrees and a host of workplace development services designed to create opportunities for student success.  The University is comprised of a Community CollegeSchool of Engineering and Applied SciencesSchool of Business and Public AdministrationCollege of Arts and SciencesCollege of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, and the David A. Clarke School of Law. To learn more, visit

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University's EO Policy Statement, please visit:

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000.